Posts tagged Utah
This is Ballot Watch. Today is the tenth in the series of articles on the upcoming ballot initiatives and some key local elections. In this article, we return to our geography-based collections of states, taken roughly eight at a time. Along with the Mountain States of Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming, we’re including the northern Plains states of North and South Dakota.
For many years, this region has been reliably Republican. However, demographic changes have made some of the states a lot more interesting. New Mexico voted for the Republican from 1968 (President Richard Nixon) to 1988 (President George H. W. Bush). Since 1992 (President Bill Clinton), however, New Mexico has voted for the Democratic Presidential candidate, with a slight excursion to the red column for President George W. Bush’s reëlection in 2004.
Colorado was once solidly red in Presidential elections. Since 1952 (President Dwight Eisenhower), Colorado has voted for the Democratic candidate for President only three times: 1964 (President Lyndon Johnson), 1992 and 2008 (President Barack Obama). However, changing Demo-graphics have made Colorado a swing state. Also, population growth has made it a medium-large prize: nine electoral votes. Look to Jefferson County (Monotreme’s home) as the bellwether county. This county includes the western Denver suburbs, and like the state and the country, is almost evenly split between Yangs and Kohms. Most of Jefferson County (in terms of population) is in Colorado’s 7th Congressional District (see below) with the less densely populated mountain regions in the 2nd, which is a Safe Democratic seat.
Idaho has voted for the Republican since the 1968 election. Montana also turned red in 1968 and only voted for the Democrat in 1992. North and South Dakota have both voted for the Republican since Wendell Willkie lost to President Franklin Roosevelt in 1940, with the exception of giving their eight electoral votes to Johnson in 1964. Utah and Wyoming have an almost solid streak of voting Republican in Presidential elections as well, starting in 1952, but like many other Western states both took a brief walk on the blue side in 1964. (more…)
Democratic and Republican state conventions were held in Utah Saturday, April 21. Each party chose candidates for statewide and multi-county offices.
On the Democratic side, things were pretty calm. The Democrats don’t hold much power in Utah politics, and there were no major controversies. I’ve been to past state Democratic conventions, and the overall air is like a high school pep rally for a losing team that everyone is compelled to attend. The Democrats only have one Congressional seat — more on that later — and have not been a significant force in state politics since 1966. Currently, the State Senate has 22 Republicans and 7 Democrats, while the State House has 56 Republicans and 17 Democrats. All the Democrats are from the Salt Lake and nearby Park City areas, with the exception of one lone Democratic State Representative, Christine Watkins, who lives in Price, in the coal-mining east-central part of the state.
There is much more activity on the Republican side. Remember that in 2010, U.S. Senator Bob Bennett was unable to make it past the second round of balloting which sent now-Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) and Tim Bridgewater into the primary, which Senator Lee won.
Could the Tea Party repeat this feat in 2012, with Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT), who has served for 36 years?
A long-simmering dispute between Western states and the Federal Government has come to the forefront again in Utah, with House Joint Resolution 3 and House Bill 148.
Both passed easily and HB 148 is now on Governor Gary Herbert’s desk, awaiting a signature that is almost certain. Update: Governor Herbert signed HJR 3 and HB 148 on Friday, March 23, after this article was written but before it ran. When signed, it will trigger a legal battle with the Federal Government which Utah is almost certain to lose.
The Utah Legislature, like many state legislatures, spends much of its precious time in session on “message bills”, those destined not to ever go anywhere but which rally the troops and perhaps make sponsors look good in a reëlection campaign, or perhaps in a campaign for a higher office.
Having already run through the standard set of message bills for the usual conservative shibboleths, Utah Legislators have turned to the Golden Oldies, reviving a 40-year-old movement, the “Sagebrush Rebellion”.
In the original Sagebrush Rebellion, the conflict between environmentalists, ranchers, miners, and off-road vehicle users, among others, boiled over after the 1976 Federal Land Policy and Management Act was passed. This law, now Title 43 Chapter 35 of the U.S. Code, gave broad powers to the Federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to control Federal lands in western U.S. states. The states saw this as a Federal land and power grab.
This year’s version, embodied by a suite of bills advanced by the overwhelmingly Republican Utah Legislature, demands that the Federal government return 30 million acres of Federal lands to the State of Utah. There are 55 million acres of land in Utah, and 42 percent of them (22.9 million acres) are under BLM control. Utah then promises to give back the National Parks and National Monuments, but not much else. The argument is that money from the sale and use of the now-State lands would be used to pay for K-12 education, which has been chronically underfunded. Utah has by far the highest birth rate, largest populations of children, and the largest class sizes of any state. Legislative analysts give the measure zero chance of surviving a Supreme Court challenge. Thus, it’s more of a Ragegush Rebellion. (more…)
Pauly sees frequent complaints from conservative commenters on this site: he’s accused of presiding over a “left-wing echo chamber” that airs only a liberal/progressive/Socialist worldview. So it is that Pauly wonders if any of the liberal commenters find this analysis offensive:
Rural residents are forced to become conservatives and Fascists if they’re not that way from the outset. That statement includes small farmholders who typically would otherwise embrace a sense of belonging and common purpose in other settings. Put the rural Kansas farmer in charge of prosperity and growth and they’ll turn a sense of community into the Wild West frontier faster than you can say Dodge City — not because they’re intolerant, but because their isolated rural world becomes the center of their universe. Things like “freedom” become so important to these farmers, and then that “freedom” has to be defended at all costs (we need our guns!) and once defended, individualism has to be aligned with the “vision” of the farming community.
Now that Pauly has thoroughly offended you, go read this commentary and see how you feel about it.
Jon Huntsman formally kicked off his campaign today in New Jersey, in sight of the Statue of Liberty — which according to some is a reminder from the French not to embrace socialism — evoking the spirit of President Ronald Reagan as he announced his candidacy for the 2012 Republican Party nomination for President of the United States.
He invoked Reagan directly, saying that Reagan was a candidate in a similarly difficult time in the nation’s history.
Politico’s Alexander Burns reports that he plans travel to New Hampshire later today, South Carolina on Wednesday, Orlando, Miami and Naples, Florida on Thursday, and Utah plus Nevada on Friday. He will set up his national campaign office in Orlando, home of his wife, Mary Kaye.
I don’t think you need to run down anyone’s reputation to run for president. I respect my fellow Republican candidates. And I respect the president. He and I have a difference of opinion on how to help the country we both love. But the question each of us wants the voters to answer is who will be the better president, not who’s the better American. — Jon Huntsman, in prepared remarks reported at Politico
The article below is an updated and reprinted version of one that appeared February 2, 2011. (more…)
It has been long-rumored in Utah that Sen. Orrin Hatch’s days are numbered. In 1976, when he defeated then-Sen. Frank Moss who was at the time vying for a fourth term, he told Moss “eighteen years is long enough”. Apparently, 36 years is not as long as 18, or he forgot something he promised along the way.
When the much more moderate (and respected) Sen. Bob Bennett was successfully “primaried” (actually “Republican State Conventioned”, which doesn’t have the same ring at all) Sen. Hatch saw the writing on the wall.
This being Utah, whoever wins the nod at the Republican State Convention (and any subsequent primary, if needed) will be one of the two the Senators from Utah.
So far, Rep. Chaffetz has two claims to fame:
- Beating the “Muslim Democrat union terrorist dingoes took my bay-bee!” drum simultaneously with attempting to hamstring the TSA’s use of porno-scanners;
- Sleeping in his office, ostensibly to save the taxpayers money but actually as a publicity stunt.
What will happen next? Only the Platypus knows.
- Rep. Chaffetz Leaning Toward Senate Challenge (foxnews.com)
- Sen. Orrin Hatch (R) Draws A Primary Challenger (businessinsider.com)
- Chaffetz Telling Insiders He’ll Challenge Hatch (politicalwire.com)
- Orrin Hatch Stands Up for Those Poor Picked on Oil Company Executives (crooksandliars.com)
- Lee Won’t Endorse Hatch (politicalwire.com)